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Protesters March to Downtown Rogers in Support of DACA

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In June of 2012, The Obama Administration launched the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, commonly referred to as DACA. Through executive action, the program was put in place pertaining to individuals illegally brought to the United States by their parents. In order to apply for DACA, those individuals must either be enrolled in school or be serving in the military, as well as obtain a clean criminal record. Applicants must also provide verification that they entered the United States before the age of 16 years old. The program allows these illegal aliens, referred to as Dreamers, to be granted the ability to receive an education, obtain a job, as well as a driver’s license. Along with these benefits, the program also protects these individuals from immediate deportation upon their arrival. However, the program does not grant these illegal immigrants legal status. According to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, there are approximately 800,000 DACA recipients across the country. Upon these Dreamers, it is widely believed that because they have been raised and educated in the United States, they are indeed American citizens who merely lack legal recognition.

During the 2016 presidential election, Donald Trump rallied against illegal immigration and promised to reverse Obama’s “unconstitutional” executive actions. In June, 10 attorneys general composed a letter to Jeff Sessions, in which they threatened to legally challenge DACA in court. They gave President Trump until September 5th to make the call on the future of the program. Donald Trump has come forward saying it is an extremely hard decision because he “loves the Dreamers.” Despite saying this, he has ultimately ordered an end to DACA. The program’s official termination is soon to come, as it will be phased out over 6 months.

The decision to end DACA sparked animosity across the nation. When acknowledging President Trump’s decision, many people were instantly outraged at the decision. Approximately 400 protesters gathered in New York City and marched to Trump Tower on September 12. On that same day, between 300 and 400 protesters stood united outside the White House, in order to express their disapproval of the rescinding of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. An effort to send a message to the Trump Administration was also made locally, when several students began organizing a school-wide march, here at RHHS.

Upon hearing the news of the cancellation of DACA, sophomores, Lucas Gibson and Savannah Burkhart started planning a march downtown to the Frisco Stage in Downtown Rogers. Word spread, and their effort started gaining support from across the city. While sitting down with Lucas, I asked how big he anticipated it to become. “We’re now looking at it as a city-wide event.” He also added, “We plan to get RHHS students, administrators, as well as anyone else who feels the urge to join in our efforts.” Departing after school on September 12, several students marched towards downtown Rogers. Obtaining colorful posters as well as flags of varying countries, the students were escorted by a plethora of RHHS teachers and administrators. The War Eagles were also joined by a few Rogers High School students who decided to join them in the protest. When arriving at the Frisco Stage, several students, dreamers and citizens alike, spoke and offered their testimonies and belief as to why DACA should not be terminated. Over 200 students were in attendance. In an interview by 40/29’s Katie Davidson, Lucas Gibson said, “We’re going to stand united with each other, and we’ll get our message across.” According to several students, the protest went according to plan and was very successful. After the conclusion of the protest, Savannah Burkheart posted a collection of pictures from the event on her Instagram. The pictures, displaying her and Lucas, was accompanied with these words and a few smiley faces, “Honestly it’s such a beautiful thing to see two sophomores in high school come together to create something bigger than themselves.” As for the abundance of signs and posters that were made, they will be collected by teachers at Rogers Heritage High School, to be sent off to Congressman Womack’s Office.

 

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The student news site of Rogers Heritage High School
Protesters March to Downtown Rogers in Support of DACA